A couple of people whose opinions I respect greatly due to their direct style (yes, they share it) and their logic, have raised some points regarding today’s post regarding The Daily Mail (and Mirror and Telegraph).
Their points are valid:
- Don’t be surprised if you read something horrible in The Daily Mail.
- Don’t give The Daily Mail publicity and drive people to it by expressing surprise, shock and disgust and indicating a story.
To actually quote one of my friends:
“You’re right to be indignant BUT I bet this story has caused a blip on their web-analytics which they’ll regard as a good thing for ad-sales..”
And, of course, he’s quite correct. However…
The days when you could just look at the front cover of a newspaper that you know you are going to be offended by without buying it – or to leaf through it as you wait in the newsagent for your friend to buy something – are going. Now, you do have to give hits to the online versions. This does require you to be culpable. It also means that you are contributing to that newspaper’s potential advertising revenues.
So, the argument that “I don’t make a difference on my own” is weakened due to the nature of online commerce.
This makes the arguments of my two logical, down to earth and highly intelligent friends even more sound.
Not looking, and when seeing not complaining and reaching out to others to express disgust and shock is equally as culpable. My initial Twitpic and virtual yell of “What the Absolute FUCK Daily Mail you sick, sick bastards” might not have been subtle. Let’s exclude the fact that TDM changed its headline; that could have been for many reasons including the editor’s realisation that he had gone a step too far.
Let’s concentrate on the fact that one picture has been viewed at the time of writing more than 113,000 times and retweeted more than 4,700 times. That is bad publicity for TDM. It may not be huge but it is still there.
So maybe, the argument that “I don’t make a difference on my own” is weakened but in another way due to the nature of online interaction.
Simply letting that paper – and The Mirror and The Telegraph (the others that I am aware of at this moment) – get away with these things by not complaining and not expressing disgust is just that: letting them get away with it.
My not looking would not mean that TDM and the others would stop. Mine – and others far more influential than me – pointing it out might have some effect.
Simply not looking in this new age of online does not mean the same thing as it might once have done. Doing something still means something though. At least I hope it does – and I like a bit of hope to exist.
As for my complaint to the Press Complaints Commission, given that Paul Dacre is the chairman of that toothless mouthpiece, I doubt anything will come of it. Paul Dacre, you see, is the current editor of The Daily Mail.
Bad Publicity and Online Commerce
I believe that not all the people who read TDM are actually as vile as the publishers of the paper would like to imagine. I hope that many of them can be as influenced by the idea that the paper (and others) can be wrong as they can by the idea that it is always write.
And when it and its ilk are wrong, I believe they should be called on it. I also know that in the world of online, a few bad stories; a couple of misleading or mendacious headlines; some poor and lazy reporting will begin to kill the readership. Or at least it will if enough people spread the word.
So, while I agree with my two friends that the statistical point of ‘Not Looking’ is valid, I also believe that my more emotive point that ‘Not looking does not mean it’s not there’ stands up too.
Finally, don’t forget you can always use istyosty to read the press and not provide hits to these people.
(And sure, you can call me on Godwin’s law for the second, zoomed out, photo of a Nazi propaganda poster which I shot in the Topography of Terror museum in Berlin this year. Of course you can).